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MONDAYS 4:00 – 6:45 P.M.

Instructor: Stephanie Newbold, Ph.D.

Phone: 972.883.5341
Office: Westec Building 1.212
Office Hours: Before Class & By Appointment


The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the theoretical and practical
underpinnings of organization theory and demonstrate how it relates to the broader fields
of public administration and public affairs. Public organizations differ from private and
nonprofit organizations because of their relationship to the state, its constitutional heritage,
democratic institutions, and citizenry. The separation of powers system of American
government has a profound impact on how public organizations serve the state and work to
advance its constitutional tradition. Public agencies are responsible to the executive,
legislative, and judicial branches of government – an observation that has led several
scholars within the constitutional school of American public administration to argue that
U.S. public servants serve “three masters.” This environment can create tension within and
among public organizations, particularly in terms of balancing democratic values like
responsibility, responsiveness, and representativeness with economic values like economy,
efficiency, and effectiveness. Although a significant portion of the literature you will read
for this course could be applied easily to private and/or nonprofit organizations, we will
primarily focus on how it relates to public agencies.

Public organizations provide a wide range of essential services at all levels of government,
including, but not limited to: public education; health and human services; housing and
urban development; energy and public utilities; the environment; homeland security; water
treatment; and transportation. It is, therefore, essential for students of public
administration to understand how organizations function and are structured. More
specifically, a comprehensive understanding of the literature that comprises the study of
complex public organizations; organization behavior and change; and organization theory
provides us with a greater knowledge base to evaluate the successes and failures of
organizations. In addition, it enhances our understanding for finding ways to improve or
enhance organizations in implementing their mission(s) successfully; in executing policy
expectations that advance the goals of the organization; and in developing mechanisms that
assist managers understand the difficulties affecting behavioral dynamics at all levels of an


By the end of this seminar, students will be able to:

• Develop a historical and institutional understanding for the major theories and themes
associated with the study of organizations.

• Identify how various organization theories can be applied in practical terms.

• Recognize the distinguishing characteristics of public organizations.

• Improve writing quality, analytical thinking, and oral presentation skills.


Rainey, Hal G. (2003, 3rd ed.). Understanding and Managing Public Organizations. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
(From this point on will be referred to as HGR).

Shafritz, Jay M., J. Steven Ott, and Yong Suk Jang. (2005, 6th ed.). Classics of
Organization Theory. Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth.
(From this point on will be referred to as S&O).

Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters at the Professor’s Discretion.

Optional – Book Review Selection.


There will be two examinations for this course: a mid-term and a final. The mid-term will
cover material up to that point in the course; the final will cover all subsequent material.
Both exams will be take home essays, consisting of three questions each. Students will
have one week from the time both exams are distributed to complete them.

Book Review and Presentation:

The master’s students will be divided into six groups, each of which will be responsible for
reading an important work within organization theory. On the first class, students will
select their top two choices. The professor will assign students to groups on Class III.

Organizational Theory, Spring 2009, Newbold 2

Each group will be required to make an oral presentation that highlights the intellectual
significance of the work they reviewed; why it remains important to the study and practice
of organization theory; and how it relates to organization theory and organization behavior
and change. In addition, each student must submit a ten-page, minimum, analysis of their
individual reaction to the work. This will be due on the day of the oral presentation.
Students may choose from the following options:

Barnard, Chester. (2005, 30th Anniversary Edition). The Functions of the

Executive. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Kaufman, Herbert. (2006, Special Reprint Edition). The Forest Ranger: A Study in
Administrative Behavior. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future.

Perrow, Charles. (1986, 3rd ed.). Complex Organizations: A Critical Essay. New
York: McGraw Hill.

Selznick, Philip. (1957). Leadership in Administration: A Sociological

Interpretation. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Simon, Herbert A. (1997, 4th ed., originally published 1945). Administrative

Behavior: A Study of Decision-Making in Administrative Organization.
New York: Free Press.

Thompson, James D. (2003, originally published, 1967). Organizations in Action:

Social Science Bases of Administrative Theory. New Brunswick, NJ:
Transaction Publishers.

Class Attendance & Participation:

Students are expected to attend class on-time and to participate in discussions. If you
cannot attend class, please inform me as soon as possible. Excessive absences and
tardiness will affect your grade.

Writing Expectations:
All written work submitted for this course must be typed and double-spaced. Correct
English, grammar, spelling, and punctuation is expected. Papers that do not meet this
expectation will be penalized; the worse the grammatical infraction(s) the more steep the
penalty. Graphs, charts, bullets, etc. should not be used for any of the assignments
submitted for this course. Students should write only in complete sentences. Please
remember that formal paragraphs consist of three or more complete sentences. All written
work should follow the Turabian format, should be submitted with a title page, and

Late Work:
Students are expected to submit work on-time. Unless prior arrangements are made with
the instructor, work submitted after the due date will be penalized a half letter grade for

Organizational Theory, Spring 2009, Newbold 3

each day late. Emailed assignments will not be accepted unless the student has made prior
arrangements with the professor before the assignment is due.

Students with Disabilities:

Students classified as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act should advise the
professor of their condition, no later than the second class, so appropriate accommodations
can be made.

Academic Integrity:
Students are expected to uphold the University honor code at all times.

General Disclaimer:
The professor can amend the course syllabus at any time. If necessary, the professor will
announce and discuss these changes in class.


The evaluation for this course is based on the following percentages:

Mid-Term Exam 25%

Final Exam 25%
Book Review 30%**
Class Participation 10%
Film Critique 5%

**Oral Presentation will count 15% & Individual Reaction count 15% each.


Class I Course Introduction

January 12th

Class II Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

January 19th University Closed

Class III Classical Foundations of Organization Theory

January 26th
-S&O: Introduction & Chapters 2, 5, 6, 7, 8
-HGR: pp. 22-33
-Newbold, S. (2008). “Teaching Organization Theory From
a Constitutional Perspective: A New Twist on an Old
Flame.” Journal of Public Affairs Education 14:3, 335-51.

Organizational Theory, Spring 2009, Newbold 4

-Book Review Groups Announced

Class IV Neo-Classical Perspectives of Organization Theory

February 2nd
-S&O: Chapters 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
-HGR: pp. 33-36

**Selznick, Philip. (1996). “Institutionalism ‘Old’ and

‘New.’” Administrative Science Quarterly. 41:2 (40th
Anniversary Issue), 270-77.

Class V Human Resource Theory I

February 9th
-S&O: Chapters 14, 15
-HGR: pp. 32-33; 36-54; Chapter 11

**Barnard, Chester I. (1938). “Informal Organizations and

Their Relation to Formal Organizations.” From The
Functions of the Executive. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press. On Reserve in Library.

Class VI Human Resource Theory II

February 16th
-S&O: Chapters 16, 17, 18
-HGR: Chapters 9, 10, 12

Class VII Modern Structural Organization Theory & Distinctive

February 23rd Characteristics of Public Organizations

-S&O: Chapters 20, 23, 24

-HGR: Chapters 3 & 4

**Appleby, Paul. (1945, 1973). “Government is Different.”

From Big Democracy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. On
Reserve in Library.

Class VIII Organizational Culture I

March 2nd
-S&O: Chapters 35, 36, 38
-HGR: Chapter 6

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Class IX Organizational Culture II
March 9th
-S&O: Chapters 42, 43, 44
-HGR: pp. 405-414; 417-423

**Light, Paul C. (2006). “The Tides of Reform Revisited:

Patterns in Making Government Work, 1945-2002.” Public
Administration Review. 66:1, 6-19.

**Selden, Sally C. and Frank Selden. (2001). “Rethinking

Diversity in Public Organizations for the 21st Century.”
Administration and Society. 33:3, 303-29.


Class X No Class – Spring Break

March 16th

Class XI Organizational Theory and Film

March 23rd A Man for All Seasons
5-page reaction due at the start of class XII

Class XII What the Past Can Still Teach Us About Organizational
March 30th Reform

**1937 Brownlow Report Retrospective, Stephanie Newbold

and David Rosenbloom, Editors. Public Administration
Review (2007) Vol 67, No. 6. pp. 1006-1058:

1. Newbold and Rosenbloom, Introduction

2. Stivers and Hummel, Personnel
3. Posner, Budgeting and Finance
4. Arnold, Regulation
5. Kaufman, Administrative Management
6. Newbold and Rosenbloom, Rule-Making and Proposed
Legislative Measures
7. Newbold and Rosenbloom, Conclusion

-Film Critique Due

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Class XIII Power and Politics
April 6th
-S&O: Chapters 29, 31, 33, 34

**Lindbloom, Charles. (1959). “The Science of Muddling

Through.” Public Administration Review. 19:2, 79-88.

**Long, Norton. (1949). “Power and Administration.”

Public Administration Review. 9:4, 257-64.

Class XIV Organizational Leadership, Innovation, & Change I

April 13th
-S&O: Chapter 46

**Denhardt, Robert B. and Janet Vinzant Denhardt. (2000).

“The New Public Service: Serving Rather than Steering.”
Public Administration Review. 60:6, 549-59.

**Mumford, Michael D. et al. (2000). “Leadership Skills For

A Changing World: Solving Complex Social Problems.”
Leadership Quarterly. 11:1, 11-35.

**Terry, Larry D. (1998). “Administrative Leadership,

Neo-Managerialism, and the Public Management Movement.
Public Administration Review. 58:3, 194-200.

Class XV Organizational Leadership, Innovation, & Change II

April 20th

“Managing Complex Public Organizations in Times of Crises” –

An In Class Case Study of the Response to Hurricane Katrina

**van Heerden, Ivor Ll. (2007). “The Failure of the New Orleans Levee System
Following Hurricane Katrina and the Pathway Forward.” Public Administration
Review. Special Issue, December 67, 24-35.

**Derthick, Martha. (2007). “Where Federalism Didn’t Fail.” Public

Administration Review. Special Issue, December 67, 36-47.

**Stivers, Camilla. (2007). “So Poor and So Black”: Hurricane Katrina, Public
Administration, and the Issue of Race.” Public Administration Review. Special

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Issue, December 67, 48-56.

**Lester, William and Daniel Krejci. (2007). “Business “Not” as Usual: The
National Incident Management System, Federalism, and Leadership.” Public
Administration Review. Special Issue, December 67, 84-93.

**Morris, John C., Elizabeth D. Morris, and Dale M. Jones. (2007). “Reaching
For the Philosopher’s Stone: Contingent Coordination and the Military’s Response
to Hurricane Katrina.” Public Administration Review. Special Issue, December 67,

**Waugh Jr., William L. (2007). “EMAC, Katrina, and the Governors of

Louisiana and Mississippi.” Public Administration Review. Special Issue,
December 67, 107-113.

**Farazmand, Ali. (2007). “Learning from the Katrina Crisis: A Global and
International Perspective with Implications for Future Crisis Management.”
Public Administration Review. Special Issue, December 67, 149-159.

**Garnett, James L. and Alexander Kouzmin. (2007). “Communicating

Throughout Katrina: Competing and Complementary Conceptual Lenses on Crisis
Communication.” Public Administration Review. Special Issue, December 67,

Class XVI -Group Presentations

April 27th -Individual Reaction Papers Due, If Presenting

Class XVII -Group Presentations

May 4th -Individual Reaction Papers Due, If Presenting

Final Exam Distributed

Due Monday, May 11th at 5:00 p.m.

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